A Memorial to Remember

by Melodius Monk  

Driving through Oklahoma this week, I was privileged to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the site where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in 1995. I was only 12 years old when this tragedy took place, and though I remember hearing about the bombing, I wasn’t old enough to understand the scale of this life-changing event. Maybe naivety about what had happened was partly why I found this visit so moving. Walking into this sacred space, I was overcome with emotion. As the guide talked us through the events of the historic day and pointed out the symbolism behind every piece of the beautiful memorial, my eyes quickly filled with tears. I was particularly struck by two pieces of the outdoor memorial that are called the “Gates of Time.” The east and west sides of the memorial are flanked by two large gates; the east wall representing the time 9:01, one minute before the bombing, and the west wall 9:03, one minute after the explosion. The significance of the 9:03 wall caught my attention. It  was to show the city and people’s deliberate choice to move forward from this evil act, toward reconciliation, rebuilding, and …..specifically hope. In my normal, far less tragic life, it often takes me days to even want to start to forgive when I feel hurt, let alone the minute after such evil.  The overall impact of the memorial was strong in many ways, but one thought that stuck with me was this: I wonder how much good we could do, individually and collectively, if each of us would regularly embrace this hopeful attitude of the 9:03 wall?

This entry was posted in Art, Beauty, Call to Action, Forgiveness, Healing, Positivity, Reflections by Melodius Monk. Bookmark the permalink.


About Melodius Monk

I'm 30 years old, and I grew up at the Community of Jesus. My parents moved from Ohio to live at the Community two years before I was born, so with the exception of a few years at college, I’ve lived in the Community my whole life. I became a Novice Brother in 2003, and made my profession as a brother in 2005. Currently I have a pretty varied life as a brother. In addition to daily responsibilities in our liturgies, I cook, sing, play trumpet, and am responsible for various cleaning and maintenance needs in the church building (my favorite jobs is changing the light bulbs at 45 feet!) I also arrange transportation for brothers to various appointments, work on repairing musical instruments, clean the barn, give tours of the church, make the weekly food menu for the Friary, and help out with various other needs as they arise around the Community. Growing up, I was not particularly interested in the religious life, but I met Jesus at an inter-varsity fellowship meeting my second year in college, and that re-directed my life drastically. I feel very fortunate to have found my life’s calling, and the hope for more wholeness is what keeps me on my monastic journey on difficult days.

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